Dubai: A riot of colours as far as the eye can see. A long perimeter wall and four kilometres of pathways decked with bright flowers that glow in the midday sun and still stand out at twilight.
Welcome to Dubai Miracle Garden, the city’s latest outdoor recreational destination, located in Dubailand near the Arabian Ranches.
The little-known park was launched on Valentine’s Day. Decked with flowers on the ground and hanging from arches, the garden contains up to 45 million flowers. It is currently batting for a Guinness Record for the world’s longest flower wall with a one-km circumference.
Visitors, overwhelmed by the beauty of the garden, have dubbed it a little “piece of Eden”, many admitting they discovered the destination by accident.
Kate Holbrooke, a Canadian who has been living in Dubai for nine years, said she was in awe of what she saw: “Why aren’t they telling people about this? I’ve never seen such a beautiful sight as this.”
A mother of two-and-half-year-old twins Layla and Siena and resident of Falcon City, Holbrooke said she never imagined a “piece of Eden” could be possible in the desert.
“I’ve been to so many cities but have never seen anything like this,” she said. Besides the flower-decked perimeter wall, there are special vertical and horizontal landscaping designs for each area: arc-shaped walkways, a pathway covered with colourful mini-umbrellas, 10-metre-high flower pyramids, water bodies and flower-decked vintage or designer cars.
Flowers are in the shape of hearts, stars, layers and igloos too. A golf cart can be requested for special-needs or elderly visitors. There are public toilets, ablution and prayer rooms.
“It looks like a perfect pre-nuptial or wedding destination,” said Cathy, a British woman who also found the place by accident. There’s ample space for outdoor recreation and provision for retail outlets.
The Miracle Garden features flowers which have been planted for the first time in the Gulf region, said park developers.
Abdel Naser Y. Rahhal of Al Ain-based Akar Landscaping and Agriculture Co., said no two seasons will be the same at Miracle Garden as it will follow different themes each season. Akar is the same company that is behind Al Ain Paradise, the size of four football fields and home to approximately 10 million flowers in the garden city near the Omani border. “We are currently concentrating on annual, seasonal flowers,” said Rahhal, adding they are also planting trees on the perimeter as windbreakers.
He said they hope to attract one million visitors a year once fully operational.
“We have put this together with tourists in mind. We also want to demonstrate that it’s possible to green the desert through judicious re-use of waste water, through drip irrigation.”
Rahhal said there are at least 45 natural colours found in the Miracle Garden.
Retail outlets, restaurants, souvenir shops, plant nurseries and a multi-storey car park will form part of the destination in the second phase of its development. Work will start on site in mid-2013.
“In Europe, it’s dead in the winter and alive in spring and summer. We’re the total opposite. Here in the desert, winter is ideal for optimum growth of outdoor flowers. This is just how the world works,” said Rahhal.
Timings: 9am to 9pm (open till late-May, reopens in October)
Planted area: 72,000 sqm
Number of flowers: about 45 million
Entrance: Dh20 and free for kids below three (free entry for all until February 21)